Shing-zo and CNC – SCOPES Digital Fabrication

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Kuenga Palden
Kuenga Palden is currently working in Fablab Bhutan as AR/VR developer. He is experienced in 3D animation and also trained in Unity and Maya. His primary role in Fablab is to design and create AR/VR. He also develops Android AR… Read More


What is Shing-zo?

The practice of using wood to make houses, bridges, temples and dzongs in Bhutan is known as Shing-zo. The result of this woodwork can be seen all over Bhutan. The master carpenters, Zowo and Zo-chen are one of the finest in the country and do everything from designing, measuring, carving to completing the work. Trulpai Zowo Balep is even today revered as a great craftsman for his architectural skills exhibited during the construction of Punakha Dzong in 1637.


Use of Shing-zo and CNC:

By in cooperating Shing-zo and Laser cutting, can help get a perfect measured product in a small time period without any defects, which can intern help reduce cost and time. It will be easier for students to learn to use both as they will get to see their designed product in less time and learn about their culture as well.

What You'll Need


1.      Computers or laptops

2.      Shopbot (CNC)


1.      Paper/Notebooks

2.      Pens/ Pencils

3.      wood


1.      Corel Draw

2.      VCarve pro

3.      Shopbot

The Instructions

Step 1

To import the image to CorelDraw, follow the steps: Go to file = Select Import = Select the Image that you want to import = Click Import

You can download the image given below from the attachment.

Step 2

Now we need to get vector file from this JPEG image. So, to make the image into vector either you can design it separately or you can trace the image. So as of now we are going to trace the image using the Pen Tool from the tool box. For the size of the image it’s up to you but here I have kept it at 220 mm x 230 mm. To get the Pen Tool go to Tool Bar.

step 3

Then click left mouse button on the drop-down arrow at the bottom right corner like shown on the right side.

Step 4

When you click on the drop down arrow it will give you drop box, from there you have to select Pen Tool.

Step 5

Now with the pen tool start tracing the image like shown on the right side.

Step 6

Now to get the final vector delete the actual image. You should get a similar result like shown on the right side.

Step 7

To export the file to DXF, go to file then export to change the format to dxf then click export. Now to engrave our design on wood we need to run CNC Machine. As of me I am using Shopbot. So, before you run the Shopbot we need to set machining toolpath, for that we will be using the software called Vcarve pro. Now Open VCarve Pro.

Step 8

Once you get the above window go to create a new file. It will take you to another window. Here we need to set the size of our material on which we are going to engrave and give its thickness. And don’t forget to keep the units in Millimeter (mm). So here we are going to set the size to 230 x 220 mm and the thickness to 18 mm.

Step 9

Then click OK. It will give you different View port with different tool bar and with lots of tools like shown on the right side.

Step 10

To import our file that we have saved in dxf, Go to = file Import = Import Vectors

step 11

Now we are ready to set tool path to engrave. To make a tool path we need to select our image. And to select, click left mouse button and drag the mouse over the part that you want to engrave. So in our case we want to engrave all the part, so drag the mouse over the entire image.

Step 12

Now go to top right corner of the window, you will see Toolpath.

Step 13

When you click on the Toolpath you will get another tool bar for different kind of toolpath generation tools and for engraving, we have different methods to do it. Like profile, pocketing and V carve etc. for our design we are going to do it with V carving, for that we have to use V bit.

Step 14

To do V carve click on the V carve tool.

Step 15

When you click on the V carve tool bar. You will get tool setup box. Here we need to set up how deep should the engraving should be. And which V bit are we going to use. For our design keep the cutting depth as default. And for the V bit go to tool and click select.

Step 16

When you click select it will show the Tool Database. Here it will show different types of bits for different work. From the Tool Database we will select V bit 90.

Step 17

After selecting V bit 90, keep all the settings at default. And then click OK.